Founded in 1879 as the Hotel Men’s Mutual Benefit Association, Bankers Life and Casualty company is still headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and in the middle of the 20th century became one of the larger private insurers in the United States. With its focus on middle-class Americans, the company is mostly geared towards clients who are retired or planning their retirement.
Bankers Life has over 320 offices across the country and over 5000 agents. Products offered are mainly life insurance, long-term care, and supplemental medical insurance. At the time of writing, the client base numbered over 1,4 million and can access services through the company’s website where they can also sign up for a members’ area. In the member’s section of the website, even more services are offered so that policyholders can avoid going to a physical office for help. There is also a helpline where people can phone if they do not have an internet connection.
Types of Life Insurance Offered by Bankers Life and Casualty
As mentioned in the introduction, Bankers Life offers more than life insurance; it also offers products designed to complement life insurance by making life easier and more financially stable for people in their twilight years. Briefly, here are the types of insurance and products Bankers Life and Casualty offers.
At Bankers Life, term life insurance coverage is offered in initial term policies of 5, 10, and 20 years, with amounts as low as $25,000 available for clients up to age 75 and renewable up to age 95, which is not seen at other insurers. Payment premiums are level for the original term, and depending on the policy purchased, conversion to a permanent policy or credit may be possible: permanent policy conversion is for those 70 and under, while credit conversion can be an option for those 60 and under. There are also optional riders that can be added to the policy; the riders are discussed below.
There are five whole life insurance products offered by Bankers Life. These are
BasicLife and BasicLife Graded
Both policies have death benefit amounts as low as $2,500 and are renewable for life with level premium payments. The death benefits are guaranteed not to change, there is a long-term cash value build-up that can be accessed through loans. Riders are available (discussed below), and there is an automatic loan provision. In most cases, the policies will avoid probate costs and delays, and finally, death benefits are generally tax-free for the beneficiaries. BasicLife is for those aged 17 to 85, while BasicLife Graded is a product intended for those aged 50 to 85.
InnovativeLife SP I and InnovativeLife SP II
Available from ages 0 to 85, both products can be paid for in a single payment, but out-of-pocket costs may change as level premium payments are not guaranteed for those who do not choose the single premium payment. They are not guaranteed renewable, and unlike the BasicLife products, there is no automatic premium loan provision. InnovativeLife SP I has an amount as low as $30,000.
Like the BasicLife policies explored above, the death benefits do not change, there is a long-term cash value build-up, and policyholders can add optional riders.
This product is meant for those aged 17-75, as is the same as the BasicLife products, but not guaranteed renewable and does not have the low death benefit amount of $2,500. There is also no automatic premium loan provision, and there is a minimum amount of $30,000.
Universal Life Insurance
Along with term life and whole life insurance products, Bankers Life also has universal life insurance. These include:
TurningPoint® FIUL (fixed interest universal life)
For clients who want something more flexible, this product has a minimum interest rate of 3%, building cash value and offering protection.
Clearvantage® IUL (indexed universal life)
Another option for those who want flexibility and cash value build-up, Clearvantage guarantees a 1% minimum interest rate; the policy participates when the market gains, but not when it loses.
For both universal life insurance products, riders are available and described further below in the “Riders Available” section.
Juvenile Whole Life Insurance
Featuring amounts as low as $10,000, juvenile coverage is permanent, never expires, and is available for children from 0 to 16 years of age. Childhood rates are locked in for life, making premiums affordable in the future, and the child will have access to cash value via policy loans.
Other Products from Bankers Life
Bankers Life is well known for providing other types of insurance products, especially when it comes to health care. As most everyone knows, illness and long-term care for the elderly can bring economic ruin if a person is unprepared, so Bankers Life can help you prepare.
Supplemental Health Insurance
If a policyholder becomes ill with a critical illness such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, or end-stage renal failure among others, supplemental health insurance will cover the costs that traditional medical insurance does not, so that the patient does not have to worry about finances. Benefits are paid directly to the policyholder or their beneficiary. Along with critical illness insurance, hospital indemnity is also available; this insurance pays you cash while you are in hospital and can also include emergency room visits and ambulance services among other options.
Long-term Care Insurance
As people age, some lose their ability to live independently and require help either at home or in a care facility. Bankers Life offers two types of long-term care insurance: Comprehensive or Facility-Only. Comprehensive allows flexibility in that the policyholder receives in-home help or can move into an assisted-living facility or nursing home. Facility-only insurance offers protection but less flexibility; policyholders’ expenses are covered if they move into a nursing home or similar long-term care facility.
Finally, annuities are available for Bankers Life clients. Very briefly, an annuity is a way to turn savings such as retirement savings into an income stream. Annuities are safe from market loss, have growth potential, and are tax-deferred. A death benefit is also paid to beneficiaries.
Fixed Indexed Annuities
This group includes Guaranteed Lifetime Income Annuity and a Premium Bonus Indexed Annuity; the principal is protected against losses and the longer a person waits to withdraw, they may receive more income. There are more details, but it is strongly recommended to speak with an agent.
Traditional Fixed Annuity
Focusing primarily on fixed interest growth and accumulation, this product may be of most interest to those who do not want their finances affected by stock market performance and fluctuations.
If a policyholder wants to receive income immediately, they can purchase an annuity with a lump-sum payment. Income can be paid out over a lifetime or for a specific period of time. Again, for more details, the website recommends speaking with a representative directly.
Riders Available from Bankers Life
There are several ways in which Bankers Life insurance products are customizable. Along with the industry-standard accidental death and accelerated death (also known as terminal illness) benefits, several others are available depending on the coverage that you want and what you can afford. As per the advice on the website, the company’s insurance specialists will be able to offer more details and work with your specific needs. In fact, Bankers Life, when it comes to riders, stands out from the crowd because they have so many. Here, we will explore the most commonly known ones.
Some of the riders a policyholder can add to their policy are:
After an accident, if you die within six months, the beneficiaries named on your policy get additional benefits.
If you have a universal or whole life policy, this rider will allow you to collect some of the policy’s benefits when you are diagnosed with an approved terminal or serious chronic illness. This rider appears to be unavailable with term life policies.
Additional Insured – (Level Term)
If you’d like your spouse or even business partner to be covered, you can get an additional insured level term rider included in your universal policy.
A disability income rider can be added to a universal life policy. With this rider, you’ll get a benefit if you become totally disabled in a permanent way. Be careful not to confuse this rider with the Accelerated Death rider – they may appear similar but are very different!
For those who want their children or grandchildren to be covered for additional insurance later on in their lives, this rider will give the children the approval regardless of the state of their health. This is only available for juvenile whole life insurance products.
If the payor of a juvenile whole life policy becomes permanently and totally disabled, the premium will be waived.
A waiver of cost rider can be added to a life insurance policy. If you should become permanently and totally disabled, the riders and your policy’s premiums will be waived. Again, this is not to be confused with the disability income rider.
Unique Features of the Company
This is where Bankers Life and Casualty becomes very interesting for those who wish to become clients of a company with a social conscience. Bankers Life is well known for giving back to the community by supporting the Alzheimer’s Association and Meals on Wheels with donations and fundraising events such as the Bankers Life Forget Me Not Days®. Along with community involvement, there are some other unique features such as financial rating, which can give customers much-needed peace of mind when it comes to the stability of their insurance.
According to AM Best, the insurance company rating provider, Bankers Life and Casualty scores a very high A-, which means the insurance provider is excellent in meeting its insurance obligations. Therefore, policyholders can rest assured that the company will not go under or be unable to attain its financial and insurance commitments. And while financial ratings are a good tool to measure a company’s stability, customer reviews are invaluable when it comes to choosing an insurer.
So, what do customers say? Well, there are some things the customers like, such as the highly customizable insurance policies, the variety of riders available, and the fact that at the time of purchase, they speak with a representative. But on the flip side, clients do not like that online quotes are not available, and customer service appears to be lacking; in fact, Bankers Life gets three times more complaints about customer service than other insurance companies of the same size. According to some clients, claims may take months when other insurance companies take days, and some agents make misleading statements at the time of purchase. Make sure to read your policy carefully – you will actually have the time to do it as Bankers Life has a ten-day cooling-off period when you can cancel your policy and get a refund. If you cancel later than the “free look” time frame, you will be penalized and may not get any refunds at all.
The Application Process
The application process starts by asking for a quote, which can be done online; however, you only provide your contact information at this stage and an agent will get in touch with you to discuss a quote. You can also physically go to a branch, depending on the COVID-19 restrictions in your area. Unfortunately, not much information is available on the application process – it is unknown if Bankers Life uses traditional underwriting or an accelerated process. If you have questions, you’ll need to contact your local branch, which can be found on the company’s website.
Is Bankers Life Legit?
Absolutely! If you prefer person-to-person business dealings and don’t feel comfortable purchasing important documents and policies online, then Bankers Life may be a solid choice. The company is stable, has a good financial rating, and offers highly customizable products that are tailored to your needs. However, “rogue” agents do seem to be the cause of most customer complaints, so always take advantage of the “free look” cooling-off period to go over your documents with a fine-toothed comb to avoid unpleasant surprises.
|Bankers Life and Casualty Company Information|
|Address||111 East Wacker Drive Suite 1900
Chicago, IL 60601
|Telephone Number||(312) 696-6000|